Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Actor Tab Hunter, star of 'Damn Yankees!' movie, dies age 86

Actor Tab Hunter 21 is shown in Hollywood Ca. in 1952 'Damn Yankees!' star Tab Hunter dead at 86
Lora Ball | 10 July, 2018, 05:55

The Damn Yankees! actor died on Sunday evening from a blood clot that caused a heart attack, his longtime partner Allan Glaser told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

Hunter came to Hollywood in the early 1950s when actors were housed in studio stables, their names chosen by talent agents and their private lives crafted for public consumption by studio publicity departments.

The fuss over the young actor began two years later when he appeared bare-chested opposite Linda Darnell in the British-made "Island of Desire".

As the counter-culture gathered steam in the 1960s, Hunter's clean-cut appeal dropped from favour, though he did appear in small roles in films such as Evelyn Waugh satire The Loved One (1965), spaghetti western Vengeance is My Forgiveness (1968), the Roger Corman produced thriller Sweet Kill (1972), and Paul Newman western The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972).

Willson, whose client roster included Rock Hudson, Robert Wagner, Troy Donahue and Rory Calhoun, was once described wryly as having a knack for "discovering and renaming young actors whose visual appeal transcended any lack of ability".

In the press, Hunter was linked to famous stars like Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds during his heyday. He was given the nickname "The Sigh Guy" and from 1955-59 was Warner Bros. top-grossing star. William Shatner, The Star Trek alum, wrote, "So sad, to wake up to the news of the passing of Tab Hunter". One notable later role came in John Waters' 1981 film "Polyester", in which Hunter starred alongside the iconic drag performer Divine.

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Tab Hunter enjoyed success as a 1950s film star. Zachary Quinto, who is now working on a movie about Hunter's life and love with Anthony Perkins, wrote a long tribute to the actor on his Instagram account.

Most of Hunter's fame was found on stage, appearing notably in "Battle Cry", "The Burning Hills", "The Girl He Left Behind", and many more.

"I believed, wholeheartedly - still do - that a person's happiness depends on being true to themselves", he said. "The dilemma, of course, that was being true to myself - and I'm talking sexually now - was impossible in 1953".

Tab Hunter has passed away at the age of 86.

In addition to his hit movies, Hunter's recording of the song "Young Love" topped the Billboard pop chart in 1957.

It was Willson who gave him his stage name of "Tab Hunter" and he soon signed with Warner Bros., which is now owned by CNN's parent company AT&T.

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